No toilets costs India $54 billion annually - World Bank

NEW DELHI Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:16pm IST

A boy takes bath outside newly built toilets in a village on the outskirts of Nagapattinam, about 325km (202 miles) from Chennai December 24, 2005. REUTERS/Jagadeesh NV/Files

A boy takes bath outside newly built toilets in a village on the outskirts of Nagapattinam, about 325km (202 miles) from Chennai December 24, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Jagadeesh NV/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A lack of toilets and poor hygiene practices in India cost Asia's third largest economy almost $54 billion every year, the World Bank said on Monday.

Premature deaths, treatment for the sick, wasted time and productivity, as well as lost tourism revenues, are the main reasons for the high economic losses, the bank said in a report.

"For decades, we have been aware of the significant impacts of inadequate sanitation in India," Christopher Juan Costain, the World Bank's head for South Asia's water and sanitation programme, told a news conference.

"The report quantifies the economic losses to India, and shows that children and poor households bear the brunt of poor sanitation."

The study "Economic impacts of inadequate sanitation in India" is based on figures taken from 2006, but experts say these remain similar now. It said the largest economic loss was as a result of poor public health.

World Bank experts say there are 450,000 deaths out of 575 million cases of diarrhoea in every year in India, where millions of people in both rural and urban areas still have to defecate in the open, do not wash their hands and cope with poor drainage systems.

The premature deaths, treatment of the sick for illnesses like diarrhoea, malaria, trachoma and intestinal worms, as well as the time lost due to illness is costing $38.5 billion alone.

A further $10.7 million is lost in "access time", the report said -- time spent looking to access a shared toilet or open defecation site compared to having a toilet in one's own home.

Inadequate toilets in schools and work places also incurred losses as women and girls are often absent or refuse to attend due to the indignity of lack of privacy.

Tourism revenues suffered from the lack of proper sanitation and costing the country about $260 million, Costain said.

"We all hear about people worrying over Delhi Belly, but tourists are reluctant to come here due to health concerns like this and this is losing India money," he said.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Public Health

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Sri Lanka Landslide

Sri Lanka Landslide

No hope for survivors in Sri Lanka landslide, over 100 dead.  Full Article | Slideshow 

Logistics Potential

Logistics Potential

India's delivery men offer prize investment as billions pour into e-commerce.  Full Article 

Samsung Results

Samsung Results

Samsung seeks smartphone revamp to arrest profit slide.  Full Article 

Entertainment Buzz

Entertainment Buzz

Film-maker Shonali Bose hopes to take gay issues out of the closet.  Full Article 

Rising Star

Rising Star

Xiaomi moves into third place in global smartphone war.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia - WHO.  Full Article 

End Of QE

End Of QE

Fed ends bond buying, exhibits confidence in U.S. recovery.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage